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Marjorie Mowlam: I have received no correspondence in the past 12 months on solutions to the drugs problems in Weston-super-Mare. The UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator, Keith Hellawell, has recently replied to correspondence from the local drug action team Co-ordinator concerning funding for a research project, and will shortly be replying to correspondence from a practitioners group and local MPs about the structure of the local drug action team.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Solicitor-General, pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2001, Official Report, column 489W, on victims, how the Crown Prosecution Service will phase in the implementation of a system to ensure that victims are informed of decisions for which the CPS has responsibility; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: Pilot sites in six CPS areas were established in November 1999 to assess the costs and operational implications for the CPS in implementing a system to ensure that victims are informed of decisions for which the CPS has responsibility.
The first phase of national rollout will commence in the six pilot areas in April 2001. A programme of phased national implementation will follow in the other CPS areas to be completed by October 2002. Details of the implementation plans will be finalised in the light of the final evaluation findings.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the responsibility of (a) his Department and (b) the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in respect of research undertaken into the effects of depleted uranium use. 
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Mr. Spellar: The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) undertakes whatever research is required of it by its customers, of which the Ministry of Defence is a main customer. The MOD draws on all available authoritative scientific knowledge on the effects of depleted uranium use, including information from DERA.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the armed forces first used depleted uranium ammunition; which units were involved; when such ammunition was used in action in the last 10 years; by which units; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: Depleted uranium (DU) based ammunition was first brought into service by the Royal Navy in 1982 for use in its Phalanx close-in weapons system. The Royal Navy (RN) has 36 Phalanx systems, which are in service on all Type 42 destroyers, HMS Ocean, one aircraft carrier, HMS Fearless and the Royal Fleet Auxiliaries Fort Victoria and Fort George. The RN has not fired Phalanx in combat. It is regularly fired for maintenance and system checks, however, including small quantities in the Gulf conflict in 1990-91, and in the Adriatic. All these firings are into the sea.
The first operational use of DU munitions by UK armed forces took place in 1991, during the Gulf conflict. Limited amounts of 120 mm DU munitions were issued to the three Challenger-equipped UK armoured units in the Gulf: the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars and the 14/20 Hussars. Additional rounds were fired by UK forces during earlier work-up training to establish the round's mean point of impact.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence his Department has collated about the effects of (a) the use, handling and firing and (b) the clearing up of cartridges from depleted uranium ammunition; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the state of readiness and expected date of return to full serviceability of each of the Royal Navy's S and T class submarines. 
Mr. Spellar: HMS Triumph, a Trafalgar class submarine, is ready for operations (although currently undergoing short-term maintenance) and the remaining S and T class submarines are at 90 days' or more notice for operations undergoing either defect repair or long-term maintenance. We anticipate that eight submarines (Superb, Sceptre, Splendid, Trafalgar, Tireless, Torbay, Turbulent and Talent) will be available for operations by the end of this year, at which time the current operational boat, HMS Triumph, will be undergoing maintenance. The remaining three submarines (Sovereign, Spartan and Trenchant) will be in longer-term maintenance or refit. The exact state of readiness of individual submarines is withheld under exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of the five Satellite Communications Systems is; what the total number of units to be purchased is; when they all will be in service; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: It is assumed that the question relates to the proposed SKYNET 5 military satellite communications system. SKYNET 5 is envisaged as a service provision contract under PFI arrangements. The contractor will provide and own the satellites and associated ground infrastructure. The nature of the assets and the number of satellites that will be used is a matter for the selected contractor.
Bids for the SKYNET 5 service implementation contract were submitted by two competing consortia on 10 January 2001 and are currently being evaluated. It would be inappropriate to comment on the likely cost of the service provision while the competition is taking place. On current plans we expect the service to start in the middle of the decade.
Dr. Moonie: Aircraft and helicopters no longer required for service by the Royal Air Force are disposed of on their behalf by the MOD's Disposal Services Agency (DSA). Disposal can be achieved in a number of ways, including sales to legitimate overseas Governments, although no such sales to Poland have been made by the DSA in the last five years.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantity of surplus small arms has been destroyed in each of the last two years to conform to the UN resolution covering weapons; if surplus weapons have been sold to other countries to avoid being destroyed; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: In conformity with UN resolution 54/54R the United Kingdom has reported that the total number of surplus small arms it destroyed in 1999 was 31,939. The majority of these were armed forces weapons (some 28,000) with the balance from the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Metropolitan police. Comparable statistics for 2000 are not yet available. Our current policy on the disposal of small arms declared surplus by the Ministry of Defence is to restrict transfers to those which meet the legitimate defence and security needs of overseas Governments. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to the hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) on 22 June 2000, Official Report, column 242W. In the absence of approved transfers in line with this policy, surplus small arms are routinely destroyed. It is not, nor has it ever been, our policy or practice to arrange sales of surplus weapons on the ground that this would avoid their destruction.
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Dr. Moonie: I assume the hon. Member's questions refer to the Javelin anti-tank guided weapon system. The Ministry of Defence is conducting a competitive assessment of the US Javelin and Israeli Gill/Spike systems, to establish whether they are capable of meeting the UK's light forces anti-tank guided weapon requirement. The extra-mural cost of the assessment phase, which is due to complete in 2002, is currently estimated to be around £3 million for each of the competing systems.
A small number of each system will be procured for assessment. Orders for operational quantities would be placed following a successful outcome to the assessment phase. The cost would be dependent upon the final system selected and the total number of systems ordered.
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